March 2, 2018
Photo by Jane Paradise

Just go to Beech Forest
A Poem by Hilde Oleson

This is a terrible world.
We were brought up to think sunny thoughts.
No matter how difficult today is things will be better.
Tomorrow held such promises we sang about it.
The very word held foreshadowing of hope.
Today we worry.
The premise of another day is troubling.
We do not know that it will be progressive.
We send our children off to school.
Next to perhaps church we deem it our safe place.
Seventeen kids, they were our children,
Spent their last day on earth in school.
A mad man went in and in malicious anger killed them.
Never again the sunshine of their smile
Will bless their family, friend,undeserving world.
Their parents are somewhat comforted by other parents,
Still mourning losses that cannot be healed.
Tears pour out across the country.
Some people run, pumping their legs furiously.
Some kneel and pray with aching, breaking hearts.
Some cower in fear, some pretend to be brave.
Some of us go to Beech Forest.
It is a tiny forest in the town of Provincetown,
Named after trees that like our confidence has mostly fled.
Once a whole bed of tall strong trees
They too have fallen on hard times
And other trees have come to brace them, shelter with them.
There is a kind of silence wrapping the area,
Frequented by migratory flocks of birds who share their songs.
Red squirrels fly from limb to limb, jubilant at life.
Canadian geese, fat and sleek, welcome us.
In other years they have raised goslings in this holy place
In safety. This year I see no sign of that.
Has the wind brought them news that there is no safety left,
Or is there a nest securely hidden where they thrive?

This is a quiet place for meditation.
Sit on a log and let the sun perchance send rays of light
Into your nervous soul. Let the breezes whisper songs,
See how the birds swoop and glide. Watch patterns in the clouds,
Hear the drumbeats of woodpeckers persist.
The forest exudes a calmness and a quiet strength,
Blessing you in it’s peace. It is contagious.
Sit until you feel peace entering your tranquil being.
When you need to leave you can carry with you
The silent knowledge that the world has healing.
That whoever made this world created beauty and also ugliness
we can still choose which we wish to bestow.

To submit a photo or a poem, email Assistant Library Director Brittany Taylor at